Reducing Polybag Waste with Trex

Impact November 02, 2022

One of the biggest sustainability hurdles in the fashion industry is single-use plastic. Polybags, the plastic film that wraps most individual garments, ensure products are protected during the shipping and handling process. And as consumers continue to do a significant portion of their shopping online, many companies, including URBN, are relying more and more on plastic mailers and void fill to send our products to customers around the world. As we look towards making greater strides to reduce our waste, we asked the question—how can we innovate and take a more sustainable approach to our plastic use?

In 2019, Urban Outfitters began a partnership with Trex to put our inbound polybag and void fill waste to good use. Trex is a composite decking manufacturer that uses 95% post-consumer plastic film and reclaimed wood. A pilot program by Urban Outfitters diverted over 570,000 polybags from landfill and inspired the URBN teams to expand our relationship with Trex. Free People launched across all US retail locations in 2021 and Anthropologie began a limited test in 2022. Store associates collect inbound polybags and void fill in recycling mailers as they process shipments. The mailers are then shipped back to the closest Fulfilment Center. Once at the Fulfillment Center, the mailers are bailed and loaded into a Trex truck to be processed by Trex.

As of 2022, URBN is on target to recycle over 200,000 lbs of plastic by the end of the fiscal year through Trex. Trex-Blog